Performance Coaching : A formula for better performance

The great Tim Galwey in his highly influential book ‘The inner game’ has a formula for performance that I like. For Tim:

Performance = Potential minus Interference

We can break this down a little – by first defining our terms.

Performance is the action or process of performing a task. It is how we are behaving in relation to our goals. That’s why being crystal clear about our goals is so important. In order to reach them we have to know exactly what they are, so we know exactly what behaviours we need to do. That’s why one of the first things we do during a performance coaching program is spend some time clarifying and structuring goals so that they are more likely to be achieved. If you don’t know where you’re going then it’s very difficult to get there. Knowing the destination lets you begin to plan a path.

We all know we have potential. Potential is where we currently are. The resources we enjoy. The abilities and traits we have. The energy we possess. One of the ways I like to help clients assess their potential is personality assessments. I prefer to use assessments based on the ‘Big Five’ factors of personality. They’re the most scientifically validated and there are good free versions online. I also like to help clients get an overview of their personal and professional life using what I call a life/job/business performance and balance analysis. Different aspects of our lives (e.g. relationships, career, health) or job or business are reflected on to see where you are, what you’re doing well in, and where might be a good area to focus on. The reason for the focus on ‘potential’ is best explained with a map analogy. If you don’t know where you are on a map – it’s very difficult to get to where you want to go.

We can increase potential by developing it. We can develop skills, habits, resources and traits that make it more likely we achieve it. For example you might learn a new technique. You might develop a new response to an old situation. You might build something. You might even try and change who you are.

The final element in Tim Galwey’s formula is interference. Interference is what gets in the way. It’s what stopping you from reaching your potential and achieving your goals. . As I understand it, interference can be practical and psychological. Practically, there are certain things that we have to overcome – to do the things we want to do. We need to gather the resources. Make the time. Do the work. Psychologically there are many barriers to our performance. For example. We don’t feel motivated. We procrastinate. We fear failure. We fear success. We lack confidence. We are too stressed to think straight. We have conflict. We lack self- control. The common factor among all of these issues is that they are all based on certain beliefs. These beliefs cause us to feel certain emotions, and to act in certain ways (or not act). Sometimes these feelings and behaviours are not in line with what we want to achieve or who we want to be. Sometimes these beliefs are not the most realistic. Sometimes these beliefs are not the most helpful. That’s why the most method I generally use to address ‘interference’, or the psychological barriers that are getting in the way, is Cognitive Behavioural Coaching (CBC). CBC helps us to become more aware or our thoughts, behaviours and beliefs – how they are linked and influence each other. It also allows a method to question and challenge our beliefs – and helps to construct new ones that are more realistic and more helpful in terms of us achieving our goals.

If you’d like to have a chat about any of your challenges and how I might be able to help, just contact me on the link above



Jayson Moran - Psychologist

Jayson is a Psychologist who specialises in helping Entrepreneurs & Professionals. His background is in the psychology of Performance, Development & Wellbeing

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